“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
Here we find an example of Jesus comforting his disciples. When He tells them not to be troubled, He is comforting them. He then encourages them to trust, to trust in God and trust in the One sent by God, Jesus Christ. Here we must remember that Jesus walked this earth for thirty-three years and experienced all of the same trials and tribulations that we face. He knows what it is like to hurt. How grateful we should be to know that we have a Savior who intercedes on our behalf not only out of omniscience, but out of experience. Here we find that our Savior can empathize with us and not just sympathize. He desires that we use our life experiences in the same way, holding to a godly perspective on our sufferings. When we suffer, we do begin to understand others who suffer the same way. And we are able to comfort effectively out of our shared difficulty.
Paul exemplified comfort when he wrote these words: “Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.”
“For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.”
Paul could not have made it through all of the persecution he endured without comfort from the Lord and from his friends in the churches he planted. They practiced the ministry of encouragement. Even the news of their continued growth and unity encouraged Paul’s heart. It brought him joy and thus comfort in the midst of all of the trials and troubles that challenged him every day. They gave him hope and brought him joy. Similarly, God has provided people around us as a means of comfort. Building a network of friends like Paul did is essential for us as Christians. We can lean on each other in times of need for comfort, like Paul did with Timothy, Silas, Titus, and many others.
The book of James opens with the admonition to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials and tribulations of many kinds. This is a great perspective to have in the midst of all of the difficulties surrounding this life. If we have a proper understanding of comfort, we realize that God can use our struggles to comfort those around us. God wants to use our lives to show people His nature and His character. What a privilege we have to demonstrate the love of God as we comfort one another! Amazing comfort . . . amazing grace.